Friday, July 20, 2012

Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg. A place where thousands died. And once again as we stepped out of the van onto that ground. the very same ground that fathers, brothers, uncles, sons were killed. I was overwhelmed by the sacrifice. Men died for what they believed in. And being a girl I put myself in the shoes of a southern girl...what it would have been like to send my brothers off knowing that the chances of them return were slim at best?

We meandered through the museum, some spending more time than others reading the plaques. I do like history, but I can only read and look at so much...and some of our group took their dear sweet time reading. haha. but it was good. However, there was one section that especially caught my attention. Off by itself in a corner were glass cases containing hand written notes; it was entitled "Letters Home."

I poured over the letters. Some were so worn that they couldn't be deciphered. Others were written with such a beautiful script that I couldn't make it out. Thankfully, beside the original copy there were printed copies. Notes from fathers to their little boys, asking them to be strong and carry on. Men writing home to their sweethearts, urging them not to worry. Women keeping their husbands updated on the status of their homes. It was so real and so unhistory-bookish. Forbidden tears slipped down my cheeks as I read a letter written by girl to her special man; her hero, who she would never see again. 

The subject of a tour guide was debated and after a quick discussion, my mother's vote won out. He was hired. And a better decision was never made. We picked him up and he hopped into the drivers seat and proceeded to give us a 2 1/2 hour tour all over the grounds and battlefields. He would point out the different regiment monuments by name all along the way--we were highly impressed.

Frequent stops were made to get a closer view of a monument or particular field. And he would always point out where exactly we were to get us re-oriented. History came alive from this man as he recounted tales and stories from both the North and South. He knew the little details about the general/soldiers lives that made them seem like real men, not just statues and people you read about.

Monument for the 20th Maine--lead by Laurence Chamberlain

We strode along the same path that Chamberlain and his men stood and took their stand. We walked up Pickett's charge. The very route that such brave men ran across. And our tour guide {and I can't remember his name} continued to give us details that made it so real. The amount of food, horses, gunsmoke, ammunition...etc.

Each of the three days that were fought at Gettysburg were carefully laid out in detail for us to hear, see and remember. By the end of the day my head was swimming with so much information. And I felt fully versed in the intricacies of that battle. 

My father has always been passionate about the Civil War, and Gettysburg in particular and so to finally come here with the family fulfilled a long-time dream of his.

The boys!

We were in the fields/museum from when they opened at 9am to when they closed at 10pm. So torwards the end some of us got a little 

"The LORD is my light and my salvation-- 
whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life--
 of whom shall I be afraid?"
Psalm 27:1


Hannah said...

aww... I've been to Gettysburg once, but I was little, so I dont remember much. We are hoping to go again next year on our senior trip!

Bloombunchboys said...

It is amazing that in just three days such a horrific battle could be fought. We like the Civil War a lot. I'm glad we only live an two hours away from such a historic battle field.Thanks for posting. We really like following your blog.
Jeremiah B.

P.S. Come out to see us again sooooon. :P

Anna said...

Wow!!! I wish I could visit Gettysburg and read some of those letters.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I know it's been months since you posted this, but I'm going to comment anyway. =) My brother is one of the licensed guides at Gettysburg & wears a uniform just like the guy in your photo. His name is Joel. (I don't THINK it's him in your photo but it's hard to tell!) He gave my husband & I a tour in March. We learned SO much. I decided the "personal guide in the vehicle" is totally the way to see Gettysburg even though it also is the most expensive way. Thank you for your Christ-honoring blog. I appreciate your example to my girls. =)
-- Charity U's mom